Protest accommodated until doors to store blocked
A group of corporate and retail security guards for Apple stores staged a peaceful protest of what they consider to be low pay relative to other employees at the company's flagship San Francisco store on Thursday. The issue the guards were drawing attention to is not one specific to Apple, but endemic among tech firms in Silicon Valley -- who collectively tend to pay cleaning, support, maintenance and security staff lower wages on average than regular employees.
Architecture partly designed by Steve Jobs
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted an Apple design patent on the most recent incarnation of the glass cube sitting over the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City. The original cube -- paid for and partly designed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs -- used 90 panes of glass. In 2011, however, Apple spent some $6.7 million on installing a redesigned, more visually-appealing version of the cube with just 15 panes, taking advantage of advances in glass technology.
Verizon, T-Mobile upgrade support only being piloted at retail
Apple's US online store is now offering iPhone shoppers the chance to purchase a device via an AT&T Next upgrade plan, instead of just choosing a two-year contract or going unlocked. Previously, people on a Next plan had to upgrade through AT&T itself. Apple's site provides a chart illustrating the differences between the 12- and 18-month Next plans and going with a regular contract.
T-Mobile will discount some models of iPhone by $50 off full price
Starting on Wednesday, T-Mobile will offer a discount of up to $50 off the full price of all iPhones, according to a leaked internal memo. The offer will not affect subsidized iPhones, but applies to "device only" (no contract) sales. The discount will vary depending on the model and capacity, notes TmoNews, and is likely a reaction to recent price-cutting of contract phones by retailers like Walmart, which has dropped the price of the iPhone 5c to 97 cents and the iPhone 5s to $79 with a two-year contract.
'Backoff' malware has infected 1,000 businesses across US
Target isn't the only US retailer affected by the "Backoff" point of sale malware. Following forensic analysis of the intrusion software, researchers for US government law enforcement have claimed that more than 1,000 businesses have been infected by the same strain that assaulted the big-box retailer, and now UPS storefronts.
Empty stocks linked to $25 iTunes cards
The Apple TV is showing as "unavailable for pickup" at many Apple Stores across the US, including the most high-profile ones in California, Texas, and New York. The absent stocks are reportedly being blamed on the ongoing $25 iTunes card bundle. Sales may also be influenced by a recent Lollapalooza livestream, and Apple's forthcoming coverage of iTunes Festival London.
Dubai picked as location
The upcoming United Arab Emirates Apple Store will be the "biggest Apple has ever built," according to men's luxury magazine Edgar, citing an anonymous source. The person also says that Apple has picked Dubai's Mall of the Emirates as the site for the shop, and that it was originally planned to replace a current cinema complex. Based on the timing of Apple's job listings, it's thought that the store could open in the first quarter of next year. Currently, there are no Apple Stores anywhere in the Middle East.
First-gen iPad minis on clearance in anticipation of new models
Target stores in the US and its online store are now offering first-generation iPad minis at clearance prices, selling the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only model for $199 -- a price that is lower or equal to most competing (but smaller) seven-inch tablets, such as the Kindle HDX or Google's Nexus 7. The price is $100 lower than the normal retail price in all configurations, and $20 below Apple's own price for its refurbished model. The sale also offers $50 off the price of the iPad Air in all configurations. The promotion is good for "this week only," and is based on limited amounts of stock, according to the Target website.
Exact location still a mystery
Apple has posted job listings for its first store in the United Arab Emirates, reports note. The company is hiring for every level of retail position, and also makes references to the Apple Store Leader Program, a 24-month initiative aimed at people that have just graduated from college or university. At the moment there are no Apple Stores anywhere in the Middle East.
New stats may be attempt to sway local governments
Apple has posted a new promotional page, touting the company's alleged benefits to the European economy. It claims to have "created or supported" 629,000 jobs on the continent, with over 500,000 of those being linked to the "app economy." Of the over $20 billion it has paid out to developers, about $6.5 billion is said to have gone to European outfits. Among Apple's 280,500 registered developers, 52,000 are in Germany alone, and 30,000 are in France. The local iOS app economy is said to have about 20,000 open positions.
Will feature 360-degree Genius Bar
Apple is set to open its third Dutch Apple Store on Saturday, August 9th at 10AM local time, according to an official store listing. Located at Passage 39 in the Hague, the shop will have most of Apple's regular design features, with the notable distinction of a 360-degree Genius Bar. Most Apple Stores use a counter arrangement for technical support.
Phones must be examined before replacements are authorized
(Updated with European news) As predicted, Apple Stores have officially begun replacing iPhone 5s screens. Accounts indicate that the procedure can take as little as an hour, and is rolling out across the US, although it may not be available at every location. Previously, if an Apple Store didn't replace a phone outright it would ship the unit out for service, something that could take several days.
Could be ready in time for fall product launches
Even though Turkey's first-ever Apple Store opened in Istanbul's Zorlu Center just this April, a second Istanbul outlet is already in the works, according to a local report. The shop will be based in the Akasya Shopping Center. Photos show that the Apple logo and glass facade are already in place, and that construction workers are already installing tables.
Says first 90 days with the company 'amazing,' praises retail workers
Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Dame Angela Ahrendts dropped by the Grand Central Station Apple Store this afternoon to talk with workers and learn more about the operation there. She is continuing a tour of flagship stores, having previously been seen at the grand opening of the Omotesando store in Japan and other locations. Ahrendts also released a memo with a Q&A section talking about her vision and her early experiences as head of retail.
Stores receiving 'large quantities' of 5s screens
US and Canadian Apple Stores will finally start conducting iPhone 5s screen replacements on or around August 4th, sources say. Some US stores have been piloting the service for the past several months, but now Apple Stores are reportedly receiving "large quantities" of replacement screens. iPhone 5c screen services began in January.
Permanent location undergoing expansion
As anticipated, Apple has launched its first-ever "open-air" temporary store, located inside of the Glattzentrum mall in Wallisellen, Switzerland. The mall's primary Apple Store is undergoing an expansion. Workers won't say how long construction is expected to last, but the temporary shop has opened earlier than rumored, which could mean that the expansion will be ready in time for product launches expected in September and October, such as new iPhones and iPads.
Averages 2.3 days to process and deliver, beating Amazon, clothing stores
Customer service analytics company StellaService has released a new report that ranks Apple as number one for online delivery speed, up from an eighth-place ranking in April. The iPhone maker captured the top spot for the first time in June with an average processing-and-delivery time of just 2.3 days, beating mostly online clothing outlets such as Abercrombie, Zappos, Nike and others. In a separate study that ranked all aspects of customer service, Apple was topped by J. Crew and Mr Porter.
A smash-and-grab robbery took place at the Southpoint Apple Store in Durham, North Carolina on Monday night, a report notes. The thieves smashed their way in via one of the store's glass panels, then proceeded to take an unknown number of MacBooks on display. The outlet has been closed on Tuesday as a result.
Program expected to be operational in time for next iPhone arrival
Traditionally, iPhones bought from Apple Stores come in two varieties: locked to an individual carrier with a two-year contract, or completely unlocked but at full retail price. Last month, the company began allowing sales of iPhones on pre-paid plans, and now appears to be poised to allow Apple Store sales of iPhones to existing (and eligible) AT&T Next, Verizon Edge, T-Mobile Jump, and possibly Sprint EasyPay customers, who have the freedom to upgrade their phones more often in exchange for a slightly higher monthly charge.
Black facade appears in middle of mall
Apple is building its first-ever "open-air" provisional store in Switzerland, a local report says. Macprime notes that as far back as March, it learned that the Glattzentrum Apple Store in Wallisellen, just outside of Zurich, is expanding into a neighboring space formerly occupied by Läderach. Within the past several days though, an area in front of the shop -- but separate -- has been surrounded with a black facade, and even a curtain so that people wandering Glattzentrum's upper floor can't see in.
Announcement follows quickly after Chongqing
Apple will open its next Chinese store in the city of Wuxi on August 2nd, at 10AM, according to an official listing. The outlet will be based at the Wuxi Hang Lung Plaza, and operate from 10AM to 10PM every day. Wuxi is on the east coast in the cluster of cities near Shanghai, which already has several Apple Stores.
Larger markets waiting on next iPad, sales in developing markets are way up
For the second time in as many quarters, Tim Cook has had to explain away drops in iPad sales. Last quarter, the iPad saw a 16 percent drop from the year-ago quarter, but Cook detailed a credible explanation that channel inventory from the holiday season had overstuffed retailers and that the drop was actually only three percent because of that, which fell within normal ranges. This time, iPad sales were down about 9.2 percent, which Cook largely blamed on anticipation for the next iPad coming this fall.
iPod continues terminal decline
In addition to its official announcement, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown of its fiscal Q3 results. "Greater China" -- including Taiwan and Hong Kong -- continued to lead the charge regionally, with its revenue increasing 28 percent year-over-year to $5.935 billion. Europe and Asia-Pacific each advanced 6 percent, to $8.091 billion and $2.161 billion, respectively. Apple's most important market, the Americas, rose 1 percent to $14.577 billion. Global retail numbers were up 1 percent to $4.104 billion.
Continues expansion efforts outside of Shanghai and Beijing
A new Apple Store will open in Chongqing, China on July 26 at 10AM local time, according to the company's website. The outlet is situated in the Paradise Walk Mall; it should be a prominent landmark in the area, rising at least three stories tall with a massive glass facade similar to its twin in Shanghai. At present, that facade is covered with a "coming soon" logo featuring colored dots sprayed out from the building's Apple logo.
Mold, ventilation among obstacles
Apple's planned store in Hannover, Germany may finally open its doors in late September, say sources claimed to be connected to the company's local retail team. The shop has been under development for some time, with black construction facades first going up in April 2013. The delay is said to be linked to fixing up problems in the building, including mold, bad ventilation, and general defects.
Passbook card is refillable at Apple Stores, debuted in Japan
One day after the service initially debuted in Japan, the new "iTunes Pass" Passbook card is now available in the US and Australia. The iTunes app on an iPhone or iPad can now issue an "iTunes Pass" card for Passbook to users who click on the "Redeem" button in the iTunes app. Once in place, users can bring the device to their nearest Apple retail store, where staff can take money and instantly add it to the Passbook card by scanning the card, which in turn credits the users' iTunes account.
Update adds real-time gift card balance updates, ability to request money in Gmail
Google Wallet issued an update today that gives users the ability to add gift cards and request (or send) money through the Wallet app. The addition grants another perk to using Wallet as it allows customers to carry even fewer cards with assorted balances or perks. Requesting money from friends and family, or sending them money using a debit card is now free of charge, unlike the previous version which charged the same 2.9 percent (minimum 30 cents) fee as when using a credit card.
Will become state's seventh location
Apple has announced plans to open a new Ohio store, located at The Greene in the town of Beavercreek, just outside of Dayton. The grand opening is set for July 19 at 10AM; regular hours will run from 10AM to 9PM Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, the store will operate from noon to 6PM.
Could reach more regions soon
In Japan, Apple has unexpectedly announced iTunes Pass, a new service based on iOS' Passbook app. People wanting to refill their iTunes Store account can take an iPhone (or iPod touch) into a Japanese Apple Store and buy credit from a clerk, who then scans in the amount via Passbook. The money should be available immediately.
Claims same legal protections already obtained in US
The European Court of Justice has issued a decision granting Apple an EU trademark on the layout of its retail stores. The ruling (PDF) states that "the representation of the layout of a retail store, by a design alone, without indicating the size or the proportions, may be registered as a trade mark for services," giving the trademark scope enough to cover all of Apple's locations.
All Australian Apple Stores, more than 140 US stores now using 100 percent green energy
On Wednesday, Apple released its fiscal 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report and announced through it that the company will focus on achieving "net zero energy use," a goal it has already accomplished with all 21 of its Australian retail stores and 140 of its US outlets, alongside its latest data centers and its forthcoming Apple Campus 2 headquarters. The solar array that supplies most of the power used at the Maiden, North Carolina data center is the largest privately-owned array in the country.
Facility under construction for months
Apple is opening a new outlet in Basel, Switzerland on July 12 at 10AM local time, according to the company's website. The shop will be based in Freie Strasse, well-known as a shopping and restaurant district. Regular operating hours will be relatively limited, however: Monday to Wednesday, the store will be open from 9AM to 6:30PM. It will close at 6PM on Saturdays, and will not reopen until the following Monday. Only on Thursdays and Fridays will people be able to shop until 8PM.
Joins other retailers in Back-to-School offer bandwagon
US retail chain Target is now offering gift cards with the purchase of any of a selected range of iOS devices, including the iPod touch, the iPad Air or Retina iPad mini, or the iPhone 5s or 5c. In addition to the gift card, Target REDcard users receive an additional five percent off the normal price. Buyers of the iPad (in any variety or capacity) will be given a $100 Target gift card, while those opting for the 32GB iPod touch will get a $30 gift card. The retailer has discounted the 16GB iPhones to $100, and buyers also get a $20 gift card.
New value tops out at just $225
Apple has reduced the maximum credit people can get for an iPhone trade-in from $250 in the US and $270 in Canada to just $225 in both countries, accounts note. The change can be spotted by going to an Apple Store's landing page. Apple's online estimation tool is calculating still lower values, topping out at $205 US for a 64GB iPhone 5 tied to a major carrier.
Minimalist product shots dropped
Apple has started replacing the wall graphics at its retail stores, photos reveal. Until now, Apple Stores have typically used minimalist product shots set against white backgrounds. The new images feature people modeling products in different scenarios, much like Apple's recent TV ads.
$100 gift cards for Macs, $50 cards for iPhones and iPads
As anticipated, Apple has launched the 2014 edition of its Back to School promotion in the US. The offer is open to qualifying students and faculty, and gives people a $100 Apple Store gift card for buying a Mac, or a $50 card for buying an iPhone or iPad. It applies on top of regular educational discounts, which do however exclude iPhones.
Deals expected to be similar to 2013 offerings
Apple will launch the 2014 edition of its flagship Back to School promotion on July 1, a source says. In the US, at least, the event is expected to be identical to its 2013 counterpart, giving qualifying shoppers a $100 iTunes gift card alongside a new Mac, or a $50 card if they buy a new iPhone or iPad. It's not clear which countries will be involved, but last year's list also included Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.
Includes three previously unknown locations
Job listings on Apple's Chinese website are now calling for managers for six new Apple Stores, Bloomberg notes. In particular the company is building outlets in Tianjin, Wuxi, Zhengzhou, Chongqing, Shenyang, and Hangzhou. The latter three were rumored last week.
Carrier offers $50 discounts
[Update: Apple also offering AT&T GoPhone prepaid iPhones as well] As rumored, Apple has begun doing in-store activations of iPhones on prepaid carriers. The first carrier to confirm this is T-Mobile, which is running a related promotional sale. People who buy a new iPhone with a prepaid plan are eligible for a $50 discount, so long as a device is activated in-store, and they sign up for "$50 or $70 worth of service." Shoppers opting for a Simple Choice postpaid plan instead can get a $50 iTunes gift card. T-Mobile hasn't announced an end date for the deals.
All models are 16GB only, limited choice on selection and carriers
Nearly four years after Costco and Apple had a falling out that resulted in the discount chain pulling all Apple products from its warehouse outlets, the discounter is now again selling iPhones and iPads, albeit in a limited fashion for the time being in its US stores. After first bringing back iTunes gift cards to the stores, the Costco Mobile online store is now carrying 16GB models of the iPhone 5s and 5c, as well as the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, with discounts as high as $121 off retail.
Student coupon can push price as low as $830
Apple's cheaper $1,099 iMac, launched on the 18th, is already being sold for less at some third-party vendors. Best Buy is offering the computer for $980, while B&H Photo has marked it down to $979. Students shopping at Best Buy can use an electronic coupon to further reduce the price to only $830.
Initial effort limited to store-within-a-store
Apple will dip its toe into eastern European retail for the first time through a store-within-a-store in the Czech capital of Prague, a media invitation reveals. The notice was sent out by local chain Alza, saying that Apple's presence will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Holešovice Alza location on Friday at 8PM. The sub-outlet should operate much like ones in Best Buy and Walmart stores in the US, which are manned by staff from Apple.
Cellular kiosks will carry both, ending Samsung tablet monopoly
As previously reported, Apple and warehouse seller Costco have worked out their differences, with iTunes gift cards already returning to the chain, and the return of iPads and iPhones to the company's cellular kiosks promised. A new report claims that the iOS devices will return in just over a week, making their new debut on June 27. The claim does not clarify if iPads will be sold only through the retailer's cellular kiosks, or will fight Samsung directly for floor space in the electronics section.
Includes separate iMovie, iBooks workshops
Apple has opened registration for the 2014 edition of its annual Apple Camps. The program is aimed at teaching creative projects to kids aged 8 to 12 while simultaneously promoting Apple products. This year, two sets of three-day workshops are available: one is dedicated to creating a short film using iMovie and the iPad version of GarageBand, while the other involves producing an interactive book using iBooks Author and illustrations done on an iPad.
Four new Chinese stores in next few months
Angela Ahrendts' plans for Apple Retail include restructuring how stores are currently grouped, sources say. At the moment stores are linked by their geography, such that all the locations in Texas, for instance, are considered within the same region. In some cases that grouping is smaller, one example being the shops in California's Bay Area.
Latest Tokyo store draws unusual large crowd, features metal-and-glass spiral staircase
Tokyo, Japan's latest Apple Store opened on Friday (local time) in much the same way most other Apple Stores debut -- free commemorative T-shirts, a large lineup of eager buyers waiting to get in (a rarer sight in Japan than in North America), extensive press coverage. The store in Omotesando, however, was a little different: the T-shirts featured a new, leafy Apple logo that may or may not be used again, and Apple's new Senior Vice President of Retail, Dame Angela Ahrendts, was among the attendees.
Chongqing store to borrow iconic look from Shanghai store, be located below ground
As part of Apple's effort to dramatically increase its retail presence in China over the next two years, a new store intended for the mega-municipality of Chongqing may copy an iconic design from its sister store in Shanghai: a large glass cylinder that serves as a landmark and entrance while the actual store is located below ground. A rendering of the proposed store shows plans for a glass cylinder kiosk entryway, though the store will also have a second entrance nearby.
Most of exec's time spent learning Apple hierarchy, visiting stores
Apple's new retail head, Angela Ahrendts, has issued her first memo to the company's retail workers. "I have spent most of my time getting to know and understand the many functions and teams in Cupertino, along with our short and long term initiatives," she explains. "I was thrilled to meet many of your at stores in San Francisco and London this month, and I'm looking forward to Tokyo and the Omotesando opening.
Could increase traffic at smaller carriers
Apple's US stores are preparing to do in-store sign-ups for people wanting to put an iPhone on a prepaid or monthly plan, a source says. At the moment, people can buy an unlocked phone at an Apple Store, but they have to use their own SIM or go to a carrier outlet if they don't want to sign up for a contract. Initially Apple is said to be partnering with AT&T and T-Mobile; in the case of the former, stores will reportedly be stocking up on GoPhone activation kits and SIM cards. T-Mobile subscribers will only need the SIM cards already available through Apple.
New retail head in job for just one month
(Updated; stock withheld for tax reasons, not sold) Apple's new head of retail, ex-Burberry CEO Dame Angela Ahrendts, has already divested herself of almost half of the first round of company shares she was granted, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. According to the documentation, 16,264 shares given to her by the company vested on June 1. On the very same day, some 8,331 shares, worth about $5,273,523 before tax, were withdrawn, indicating a sale.